Ohio logistics firm keeps on hiring locally

Kerry R. Byrne, executive vice president of Total Quality Logistics.

One of the nation’s largest logistics companies established a small outpost on Daniel Island in the fall of 2010, and has been growing quickly.

What began as a seven-person office now has 48 employees, and Total Quality Logistics plans to hire many dozens more. The company brokers the transportation of trucked freight.

“This year we’re looking at about 30 hires,” said Hillary Kotlarz, the group sales manager who leads the Charleston office. “Next year, about 45.”

Most employees spend their days cold-calling potential customers, and managing clients’ needs in the competitive logistics business, working to shave dollars off shippers’ costs and troubleshoot transportation problems that arise.

The company negotiates with shippers, and also with trucking companies. It’s a business segment that has grown as shippers outsourced their trucking operations.

“We’re a billion-dollar company, we just need the right people,” said Kerry Byrne, a TQL executive vice president who was visiting the local office from the firm’s Cincinnati headquarters this month. “We were attracted to this area for the talent.”

“They have to be hungry,” Byrne said of potential hires. “We’re not looking for timid people.”

The company, which was founded in 1997 by former produce buyer Ken Oaks, is now one of Cincinnati’s largest employers, and has about 1,500 employees and a dozen satellite offices nationwide.

The Charleston location for TQL was established when a core group of employees from Cincinnati, led by Kotlarz, was sent out to run its own satellite office. The Daniel Island office is now TQL’s third largest outside Cincinnati.

Kotlarz said that while proximity to the Port of Charleston plays a role in the Daniel Island office’s business, that’s not why TQL set up shop there. She said the local employees manage trucked freight logistics around the nation and in Canada, and the main reason for setting up the office there was access to the Charleston labor force.

Kotlarz said recent college graduates account for most new hires. It doesn’t matter what they studied, she said, so long as they are “money-motivated.”

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or Twitter @DSladeNews.